Thomas trails early in CIMB ti­tle de­fence

Montreal Gazette - - SPORTS -

Justin Thomas col­lected the Jack Nick­laus Award as the PGA Tour player of the year be­fore head­ing to Malaysia in a bid to win his third suc­ces­sive CIMB Classic. Lit­tle won­der then the two-time defending cham­pion was off his game in the first round Thurs­day, man­ag­ing a 2-un­der 70 to sit six strokes be­hind leader Cameron Smith of Aus­tralia. Smith opened with a blem­ish-free 8-un­der 64. Thomas is aim­ing to be the first player to win the same tour­na­ment three years in a row since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11. Cana­dian Nick Tay­lor is also 2 un­der, fol­lowed by fel­low Ab­bots­ford, B.C., na­tive Adam Had­win at 1 un­der. Toronto’s Richard T. Lee is 1 over, while Gra­ham DeLaet of Wey­burn, Sask., is 5 over.

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